The Folk Devil

The Folk Devil is an immensely popular type of demon found in folklore and mythology, usually they are described as either the Devil himself or a kind of imp but they share a common trait of arriving at a scene and trying to obtain the soul of a protagonist, who often works to outsmart the entity and ensure victory.

The Folk Devil is thus almost always an honorable creature, even if its intentions are malicious, for when outsmarted the creature will depart and trouble the protagonist no further.

The idea of Folk Devils likely sprung from earlier stories involving Fairies, who were often malicious tricksters in pre-Christian settings - as Christianity took over these local legends lost the pagan elements and the Devil took the place of the Fairies.

Folk Devils are almost always depicted as red-skinned satyr beings with a pitchfork, this satyr appearance is likely derived from ancient mythology and the depiction of Pan, a Greek god that often had a wild and chaotic personality (and whose name has a part in the modern word "Panic").

See Also

  • Imps
  • Genies (play a similar role, especially the more malevolent types - unlike Devils, they do not seek souls but share the idea of having to be outsmarted by a mortal protagonist (since they are impossible to defeat by force))
  • Shoulder Imp
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